Rwandan peacekeepers serving in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) stand guard inside their compound in the capital Juba, July 20, 2016. (Reuters)
South Sudan has rejected Washington’s proposal for the UN Security Council to send 4,000 additional peacekeeping troops to the African country.
Michael Makuei, a spokesman for the government in Juba, said on Wednesday that the proposal gives the United Nations the ability to govern and "seriously undermines" South Sudan’s sovereignty.
The South Sudanese government official also stated that the proposal would allow the peacekeepers to "engage in combat," adding, "If South Sudan is turned into a UN protectorate, then this is not the end of the game but the beginning."
UN peacekeepers control South Sudanese women and children before the distribution of emergency food supplies at the United Nations protection of civilians (POC) site 3 hosting about 30,000 people displaced during the recent fighting in Juba, South Sudan, July 25, 2016. (Reuters)
Last month, a former US special envoy suggested that the UN and the African Union temporarily administer South Sudan in the wake of recent deadly fighting in the country.
Washington’s proposal also calls for a vote on an arms embargo on South Sudan if UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon reports within a month that authorities in Juba have blocked the regional force.
The UN Security Council could vote on the proposal on August 12.
Last week, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in East African said the South Sudanese government had agreed to the deployment of a regional protection force to the country. Juba, however, said Wednesday that no consultations had been held.
South Sudan has witnessed a new wave of conflict since July 8, when gunfire erupted near the state house in Juba, where President Salva Kiir and then Vice President Riek Machar were meeting for talks. More than 300 people have been killed in the clashes.
The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011. It has gone through turmoil ever since.
The conflict in South Sudan has exposed deep ethnic divisions. It erupted after a power struggle between President Kiir, a member of the Dinka ethnic group, and rebel leader Machar, a member of the Nuer ethnic group.